Eastern Mexico Whirlwind Tour

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Powershouse, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,333
    Location:
    Minn-knee-sooo-taaa
    In a couple of weeks I'll be setting out on a whirlwind tour of eastern Mexico with Streeter. We're both working stiffs with limited vacation time, but we're bound and determined to make the most of a single week off from work. We'll be crossing into Mexico at Reynosa/McAllen as we have a parking spot for the trailer lined up there. We'll be riding a pair of 650s, gravel roads are doable but we won't be looking for gnarly stuff - at least not on this trip! Probably looking at 200 to 250 mile days, although we can grind out more if need be as long as we're off the road before dark. We're both veterans of Copper Canyon trips but this will be our first venture to the eastern parts of the country.

    Our primary objectives are to go to Xilitla and visit the concrete sculpture gardens there, and visit some of the waterfalls in the region or if time permits the Cave of Swallows. Then we'll likely head roads south through Jalpan to Teqiuspiapan, east to Tecozautla, and north to Tamazuchale.

    Some questions we cold use some help with as we pull our plans together:

    How much time should we allow for touring Las Pozas and waterfalls/caves?

    Are we overlooking anything in our target area? Sites? Roads?

    We're thinking of aiming for Ciudad Mante on the first day does that seem reasonable?

    Does anyone have tracks or waypoints for the area that they would be wiling to share?
    #1
  2. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,903
    Hola,Very optimistic week plan
    From Reynosa to Cd Mante is possible in a day - but you will have to ride your tail off to do it sticking to main highways all the time.From Reynosa ride Mex 97 south to Mex 101 to Victoria and Mex 85 south to Mante.
    I would rather suggest you take two days to ride as far as Cd Valles or Aquismon where you might see about getting a tour to the Sotano de las Golondrinas (Swallow Cave) which would pretty well take care of a whole day.
    From Aquismon it is and easy run to Xilitla.... but ooooooh and aaaaaah ... the scenery en route will force you to go slow . The Englishman's sculpture fantasies garden will also take at least half day or more .
    Your week is dwindling fast !You may just have to take satisfaction with these two "attractions " and spend the rest of the ride on a more leisurly ride back north.
    My offering: form Xilitla carry onward west on Mex 120 to Jalpan de Serra ,maybe a night there, interesting central plaza area, very nice quiet town at the west face of the Sierra Gorda ...which mountain area is. a total vacatiom destination in itself with many scenic and gravel routes to explore... on another trip .
    From Jalpan head north to Rio Verde, very open country of mountains , turning into high plains,.
    West of Rio Verde about 8km pick up the FREE road NW to Cerritos , , scenic farm villages en route Or .Depending on time left either take the toll road section of Mex101 north to Mex 80 and then libre Mex 101 to Cd Victoria ...high desert scenery and then really nice old mountain route into city or the new bypass south through the lower valley area
    OR
    ... from Cerritos continue west to Mex 57 and head back to the stablevia Matehuala Here if yo still have a day to spare do the side trip to Real de Catorce . .
    Oops ,have to hurry home now via Mex 40 from Saltillo,Monterrey and back to Reynosa.
    Or you could take a short cut if you split off Mex 57 at San Roberto and take Mex 31 east past Galeana ( 10 km side trip) and toat Linares pick up Mex 85 north to Montemorelos, there take Mex 35 NE to China and Mex 40 to Reynosa.
    Time's up!
    #2
  3. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,406
    Location:
    Kentucky-Eastern that is!
    Are you saying a week in Mexico , starting from Reynosa or a week from home altogether?
    #3
  4. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,613
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Extra points for donning a parachute and jumping El Sotano :freaky
    #4
  5. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,333
    Location:
    Minn-knee-sooo-taaa
    I can understand why parachutes are an appealing option when you actually need one, right that very moment, but recreational parachuting has no appeal to me. Of course, people point to my proclivity to ride motorcycles through rocky/muddy/sandy stuff until I inevitably crash - then repeat, and they question my sanity also. :lol3

    Anyhow, back to planning. Re-reading my orignal post, considering the comments provided (thank you Sjoeerd!), talking to folks and looking at other ride reports, a couple of things have crystallized for me.

    1. What's the old saw about your eyes being bigger than your belly? Like the guy who piles helpings of everything onto his plate then can't finish it, my original plans are overly ambitious.

    2. I'm in dire need of a vacation and need to dial back to a south-of-the-border mode and enjoy the journey rather than race about checking things off.
    #5
  6. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,613
    Location:
    San Antonio
    IIWY, based on your initial stated objective, I'd simply head to Xilitla, relax, and then 120 over the hump to Tequisquiapan and figure it out from there.

    Mx 120 is worth the trip south of the border just for itself. A twisty bit of heaven.

    Stop and smell the bougainvillea, as they say.
    #6
  7. cwc

    cwc .

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,029
    Location:
    anywhere
    Given the above plan and a group that will probably only be able to do 250 miles/day (400 km) max where would you spend the first night?

    Also, if one was parking vehicles near McAllen, is Progresso the best place to cross and get the vehicle permits etc. If not what would be a better choice.
    #7
  8. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,903
    Progreso is not such a good choice,more for commercial trucking , sure it gets you across but it is way outside the route through Reynosa you need to get to either Mex 97 south or Mex 40 west and south.Been there done that.And their hours of service are limited at Progreso
    Really the easiest and fastest way is to get toHidalgo TX and dive right into Reynosa .At the bridge end in Mexico just follow the clear directional signs and lanes to the big border processinbg facility RIGHT THERE. There will be very little delay, a dearth of traffic of tourists coming in from USA side,.
    After the paperwork just head out of town following the directional signs . Piece of cake.

    Where you spend your first night in Mexico all depends on when you finish your paperwork and get going and how intensely you ride..
    How about even crossing into Reynosa in late afternoon and first getting a nice hotel downtown close to the border facilities .After getting your room set up go to the border terminal and get fixed up. Have a nice leisurely meal, a good nights sleep and set off at dawn. All daylight riding only of course. That way you will get quite far on the first full:drif day.
    I like staying in downtown Reynosa.
    #8
  9. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    21,837
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    if accessible the Puente de Dios in the Huasteca.
    there is another near Tamasapo/Aqua Buena but this is different.

    one of the most beautiful places to hike into ever.
    a river cuts through an open on both end cave, then another stream runs over top and water flows down in through cracks. you hike through the cave while water is also flowing in from above.

    have yet to read another adv report of anyone doing it.

    it's on a turn off from the road to xilitla coming from bernal (which is cool too)

    long 21.186351°
    lat -99.581495°
    to the entrance road. you drive down in and park. there are cheap guides.
    you hike up river for 1/2hr or so.
    #9
  10. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,613
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Don't worry about your first night's fixed target. How far south you get always depends upon how the day unfolds. Start thinking about stopping using the "three fingers above the horizon" rule, then consult your map. You know that rule, right? You will always, and I mean always, find lodging in virtually any town of any size at all along your route.

    My standard Reynosa advice for downrange targets directly south, is to cross at the Pharr Bridge. Sweet and Simple and direct. Its like using the Colombia Bridge at Laredo, but much closer to "town".

    If crossing Reynosa heading to Montemorelos/Linares etc. use the Anzalduas Bridge.

    If crossing Reynosa and having coffee and chilaquiles at Arte and Paloma's place right there in Reynosa proper, use the main bridge. :freaky
    #10
  11. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,613
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Really?

    Here

    Here

    and of course, Arte :freaky

    Here

    and Here


    cwc's Here

    Let me know if you want links to the others
    #11
  12. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    21,837
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    nope, but nice try.

    "if accessible the Puente de Dios in the Huasteca.
    there is another near Tamasapo/Aqua Buena but this is different."

    you pointed to the other one i referred to.
    i'll post some pics in a bit.

    i know about the other one and it's easy to get to. this one i read an obscure reference to it and then spent a good bit trying to find the way to it. there is a very rude sign on the hwy point to it. you drop down into this steep valley and then park. there was no one around and then a guy showed up. it was a crazy hike in. many tough river crossings. then a climb through a canyon with a cantilevered walk way missing pieces. then more river crossings. through 2 caves. more river crossings and scrambling and then you're there.

    use those lat/longs in GE to find the road in. it's then down to the valley floor and then west up stream. some pics are place in GE in the wrong place.

    it's not a ride, park and easy look kinda place. it requires some canyonering skills plus you need to be fit and somewhat skinnier to fit through the cave slots. if you're fat or outta shape forget about it.
    i've done alot of wilderness exploring and this by far was the most impressive site i've seen in a long time.

    #12
  13. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,613
    Location:
    San Antonio
    cwc's example is in the Galeana area

    I saw some Puente de Dios for sale, packaged in dime bags
    #13
  14. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    21,837
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    the closest town is Ahuacatlan, Jalpan, Queretaro to the east.
    Pinal de Amoles is on the road then to the west.
    on GE you'll see some big switch backs on the road and the dirt road heading off to the north.
    it's the Rio Escanela
    #14
  15. Hipster

    Hipster Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,036
    Location:
    Mpls, Mn.
    Kevin, have fun with what little time you'll have down there. Are you still planning a spring ride to the Copper Canyon area?
    #15
  16. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,333
    Location:
    Minn-knee-sooo-taaa

    Still planning on it. It would be great if you came along and organized tire changing classes for the local senoritas.

    :D
    #16
  17. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,333
    Location:
    Minn-knee-sooo-taaa
    I'll circle back with more details later, but today I rode the old approach to Cd Victoria from the south and had the whole twenty some odd miles to myself. Awesome. Crossing back at Pharr tomorrow.
    #17
  18. acejones

    acejones Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,437
    Location:
    MS. Gulf Coast and Puerto Vallarta, MX
    Where did you leave your truck/trailer in McAllen ?
    #18
  19. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,333
    Location:
    Minn-knee-sooo-taaa

    A friends BIL had a place in Edinburg where we were able to leave it, worked out well for us.

    Back in MN now. Went from 32 C in Texas to 32 F here. Measureable snow and icey roads this morning for my ride back to work. :cry

    We did the dash to the border from Cd Victoria. We took the Puente Pharr Cuota, 7 pesos, which bypassed Reynosa and brought us right to the bridge. This road doesn't seem to show up on any maps yet, but it you zoom into the aerial photo you can see that they were working on it when the picture was taken.

    https://maps.google.com/maps?<wbr>q=pharr+texas&ll=25.980114,-<wbr>98.231506&spn=0.111106,0.<wbr>133896&oe=utf-8&client=<wbr>firefox-a&hnear=Pharr,+<wbr>Hidalgo,+Texas&t=h&z=13
    #19